My British husband, and curiously a lover of coffee and not tea, used to say that drinking decaffeinated coffee was like listening to “silent music”.
This thing about silent music seems to be a radical absurdity, but recently I experienced a fleeting episode that enlightened me, or rather lulled me to this concept with unusual eloquence.
It happened in purgatory.
That place of transit, where you are here and nowhere.
An enclosure where the souls drag their heavy ballasts with little wheels. A collapsed space where one waits, with infinite patience for the turn to fly. A place only bearable because it houses the promise of Paradise. In my case Punta Cana.
A noisy place.
Yes, you guessed it, it is the airport, the best resemblance of purgatory here on earth.
After waiting for many hours, I reached the middle of my destination, the city of Toronto, where I had to spend the night.
Again, the noise…
Dazed, I walked the labyrinthine paths of purgatory, sorry the airport, until I reached outside, where the bus that would take me to my hotel was waiting for me.
That’s where my experience began.
I was the only passenger.
The driver closed the door and the noise of the crowd stayed outside.
I felt a breeze in my ears.
It was music.
I asked the driver what he was listening to, and he told me it was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. He added that the classics were his particular way of being able to do his job without going crazy.
The journey was an ethereal pause in my day.
I arrived at my hotel destroyed, but comforted.
Before going to bed, I made myself a cup of decaf coffee.
I surrendered to sleep and to the audible silence.
“Life is a great noise between two abysmal silences.”